Bankruptcy for married couples

Married and bankrupt


Can you file bankruptcy for married couples? It is certainly an option to file for bankruptcy for married couples or individually.  MYTH: You Cannot File Bankruptcy by Yourself if You Are Married.

The bankruptcy laws permit anyone to file for bankruptcy, whether individually or jointly. If you are married, you and your spouse must decide if a joint filing is necessary.  If you and your spouse have joint debts together, such as a mortgage, credit cards, and/or loans, then filing a bankruptcy together makes a lot of sense. Bankruptcy will help eliminate or restructure these joint debts.

What are the drawbacks of filing jointly?  If both spouses need to file for bankruptcy relief, filing two individual cases will result in higher court costs and attorney fees. Further, in most cases, a bankruptcy filing by one spouse doesn’t offer any protection to the non-filing spouse from their respective creditors. But if you have joint debts, the non-filing spouse will be protected by the co-debtor stay in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What are the benefits of filing jointly?  The court filing fees for individual and joint bankruptcies are the same.  Also if you wish to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, attorney fees will typically be much lower for a joint filing than two individual bankruptcies. This means that filing a joint petition can save you a lot of money over filing two individual cases.

How is my spouse affected by my bankruptcy?  A non-filing spouse’s income and expense data will likely be taken into account in the debtor’s filing. In addition, the non-filing spouse’s assets and property may likewise be considered within the debtor’s bankruptcy case evaluation process.  Also your spouse’s credit may be affected by your bankruptcy filing depending upon the way the debt is treated in the bankruptcy.  Using an experienced Utah bankruptcy attorney can help minimize the impact of the bankruptcy on the non-filing spouse.

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